Learn About Clinical Trial Participation

What You Should Know 

There have never been more opportunities to help develop new drugs for cystic fibrosis than there are today.

More potential therapies to treat CF are in development today than in the entire history of cystic fibrosis research.

While that gives all of us great cause for hope, it also charges us with recruiting more people than ever before to help us test new drugs.

Without patient volunteers — without people like you — research and progress are not possible.

Emily Schaller has participated in multiple CF clinical trials. Watch the video to find out why she volunteers. 

What is a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials, also called clinical studies, are research trials in human volunteers that seek to answer questions about new potential drugs or new ways of using already approved therapies to treat a disease or condition.

There are two types of clinical trials: observational and interventional.

  • In an observational clinical trial, researchers observe participants and keep track of their health. Specific drugs are not used in this type of study. Although observational trials don’t test drugs or treatments, they are very important for developing new ideas about cystic fibrosis and how the disease might be treated.

  • In an interventional clinical trial, researchers give participants a particular drug and measure how well it works in the body and whether or not the treatment is helpful.

The Foundation’s clinical trial search tool allows you to search for both observational and interventional clinical trials.

Clinical Trials Brochure
Why do people participate in clinical trials?

Participating in a clinical trial can be a very satisfying and worthwhile experience. A few of the potential reasons to participate include:

  • People who participate in clinical trials may get access to investigational drugs before they become available to the public;
  • Participants can take a more active role in their own health care;
  • By participating, volunteers have a chance to help those newly diagnosed with CF;
  • People who participate bring us one step closer to finding a cure for CF; and
  • Participants help to find new therapies and drugs to improve the quality of life for everyone with CF.

Who sponsors clinical research?

Clinical research can be sponsored in part or entirely by any number of organizations or individuals. For example, medical institutions, universities, foundations, voluntary groups, drug companies, and federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all sponsor research.

The sponsor chooses doctors, called principal investigators, to run the trials. Study-related medical care is often provided to the patient at no cost.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is the primary supporter of CF research. Almost all of the approved CF therapies available today were made possible because of research funded by the CF Foundation.

Additional Resources

  • Have more questions?

Read these FAQs to learn more about CF clinical trials.

  • Search for CF clinical trials.
Find a Clinical Trial
  • Read a short story for children 8-12 years about one girl's experience joining a clinical trial.

Emma Green Clinical Trial Booklet

  • Call the CF Foundation’s toll-free Clinical Research Hotline.
  • Visit the website of the NIH and search
    for "cystic fibrosis:"
  • Learn about children and clinical trials:
  • Sign up to receive clinical trial email alerts.

Updated 11/26/2013